In May we will publish our seventh novel, Agenda for Murder. As the title suggests, it's a murder mystery with a political theme. The political theme stems from Agenda 21, the United Nations' action plan to protect the environment.
Don’t turn away because we mentioned politics. The story is a rollicking good mystery told through the words and actions of memorable characters. And in its understated way it’s often very funny.
The story takes place in Fort Wayne.
Surprisingly, the City of Fort Wayne embraces the tenets of Agenda 21, a United Nations’ action plan for land use that ostensibly protects the environment. But in protecting the environment, Agenda 21 pushes local governments to become tyrannical. Individual landowners remain responsible for taxes, insurance, and maintenance but control of its use is transferred to the government and to unaccountable so-called “stakeholders” who have no tangible stake in anything.
Agenda 21 rests on a number of vicious and unsupported assumptions: the environment is fragile and far more precious than human beings; government makes better decisions than individuals; some people should work hard to support everyone else; socialism is better than capitalism; religious views have no place in public life; the United States has too much freedom, too many resources, and too much prosperity.
Many Agenda 21 supporters view humans -- other than themselves, of course -- as a virus, a parasite, a plague infecting Mother Earth.
Fort Wayne, the City of Churches, was once listed on various websites as a member of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an organization of local governments adopting Agenda 21 principles. It is apparently no longer a member, but many of its policies about land use (including conversion of farmland to other uses), water conservation, waste disposal, landscaping, rain collection, greenways, sewerage, and recycling (among others) reflect the UN’s views. Little by little, these policies limit individual freedom in the name of the general welfare.
Under Agenda 21, the individual has the importance of a bug; the collective has the importance of an emperor.
The City of Fort Wayne in our novel is a fictional version of the real city. In the book, the fictional Planning Department imposes requirements on Steve Wright, a local developer, that are not supported in law. Remember, the Planning Department is fictional. What is not fictional is that government agencies at all levels frequently try to impose more onerous requirements on developers than the law allows. The developer’s choice is to accede to the heightened, costly, and unlawful requirements or shoulder the very costly burdens of delays and court fights.
The reader can judge for himself whether some of the real city may be glimpsed in the fictional.
Agenda 21 undermines the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution protecting individual rights to property and to due process and just compensation if property is confiscated for public use. The theory of Agenda 21 supporters is that all property belongs to the public or the government. Agenda 21 also undermines national sovereignty on the theory that to protect “human rights” (which to the U.N. means those granted by global government, not God) and to promote social justice (which can only be defined in the collective) all nations should enact the same laws as dictated by a global one-world order.
COMPARISON OF AGENDA 21 TO SCRIPTURE
Agenda 21 is based on a philosophy that is the opposite of the Judaeo-Christian reading of Scripture. Here are a few comparisons:
Scripture: God created man in his own image.
Agenda 21: Man is nothing special but merely an unhappy accident of evolution.
Scripture: God created everything in the universe.
Agenda 21: The universe mysteriously came into existence out of nothing all by itself.
Scripture: God created what we call nature.
Agenda 21: Mother Nature has nothing to do with God.
Scripture: God created both man and land animals on the sixth day.
Agenda 21: Animals evolved first and therefore own all the land as habitat.
Scripture: God blessed mankind.
Agenda 21: Mankind is a nuisance, a plague, a parasite, a virus.
Scripture: God told us to be fruitful and increase in number.
Agenda 21: The human population has to be reduced by unspecified means -- no doubt sparing Agenda 21 supporters.
Scripture: God told us to fill the earth.
Agenda 21: Humans should be prevented from using or occupying as much land as possible.
Scripture: God told us to subdue the earth and rule over it.
Agenda 21: Mankind is subservient to the earth.
Scripture: God placed Adam and Eve in a garden and after the Fall told Adam to till the soil.
Agenda 21: Wilderness from which humans are barred is preferable to gardens, parks, and manicured lawns, and farms are a major source of pollution.
Scripture: God gave mankind free will to choose between good and evil.
Agenda 21: Only the ruling elite can identify what is “good” and the “good” must be forced upon everyone by ridicule, rules, fines, taxes, useless certifications, trade barriers, penalties, jail time, deprivation, and confiscation.
Scripture: Adam was to earn his living by the sweat of his brow.
Agenda 21: All the slackers and shirkers also earn their living by the sweat of Adam’s brow.
The list is endless but we’ll stop here. Our view is that Agenda 21 is diabolical in its hatred of mankind and its worship of the Creation (which Agenda 21 supporters do not admit is a creation) rather than the Creator.
But we have not written a polemic on Agenda 21. We write fiction -- exciting mysteries, we hope.
So our book is about the character of the people pushing the UN’s political views on a wide range of issues: freedom of speech and religion, control of capital, use of fossil fuels, animal rights, self-defense, equality of outcome, population control -- and, of course, land use. One need only get on the Internet to find dozens of instances in which one-world globalists are idolators, sexual perverts, rapists, scam artists, slackers, thieves, and even murderers. The real world is rich with examples of do-gooder hypocrites whose antics would be hilarious if the consequences weren’t so vile. We have not based our characters on real-world people, however. They are products of our imagination.
One of the central characters pushing Agenda 21 in our book is a man who claims to be a God-fearing man, though none of his actions support that claim. He’s the “goodwill ambassador” for the Midwest Community Alliance for Social Development (a fictional organization with characteristics of real ones). As nefarious characters often do, he misuses Scripture to cloak his wolfish purposes in sheepskin. As the story developed, we found him throwing out threats taken from the Bible.
The Bible is the richest source of common phrases anyone can find, yet most people don’t know that. The reason? They don’t read the Bible. They use biblical phrases without knowing the source, the context, or the meaning, or they confuse what is biblical with what is secular. That is true even in the United States, where most people claim to be Christian.
Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli say that we are a nation of Bible illiterates, either not recognizing the words of Scripture or wrongly attributing cultural clichés to the Bible. For example, many people think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham, Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife, and Sodom and Gomorrah were man and wife. Others wrongly believe that the saying “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible proverb and that the primary teaching of the Bible is to take care of one’s family.
Still other people know the Bible but deliberately misuse it. Here are a few of the biblical phrases our “goodwill ambassador” throws around.
Reap the whirlwind: In Chapter 2, the Ambassador threatens Scut, the owner of a gentleman’s club, with reaping the whirlwind if he doesn’t hand over protection money to the Alliance. The phrase, which is found in numerous passages in the Bible, predicts bad consequences for doing evil, such as worshiping idols. In our book, the threat is used ironically, for it is the Ambassador, who worships idols -- himself and the gods of global oppression -- and thus it is he who will reap the whirlwind. And for Scut to refuse to be extorted is not to do evil, so the threat is misdirected.
I know where you live: In Chapter 32, the Ambassador once again threatens Scut, who turns the tables by disclosing the Ambassador’s sexual perversion. This time the Ambassador says he knows where Scut lives, suggesting that he can find and kill Scut. In Revelation, Jesus warns the church in Pergamum that He knows where they live -- where Satan has his throne. In other words, He knows that in their hearts they worship idols.
In common usage, the phrase is a threat of violence, and that is how the Ambassador uses it.
The writing is on the wall: In Chapter 52, the Ambassador is told that he has a week to pay the enormous bills he’s charged to his friend’s law firm. The Ambassador is enraged and screams out the Aramaic words written on the wall in the book of Daniel (Daniel 5: 25, 26). The inscription on the wall is “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN,” Aramaic words for weights or coins (mina, shekel and half mina/shekel). The words are inscrutable to everyone but Daniel, who is informed by God as to their meaning. The words, when properly interpreted, warn King Belshazzar that his days are numbered, he’s been found wanting, and his kingdom will be given to Darius the Mede.
Again, the Ambassador’s use of these words is both serious and ironic. Serious, because the Ambassador reveals his murderous intentions toward people who thwart him, even his best friend. And ironic, because in reality it is the Ambassador’s days that are numbered, not his friend’s.
Love of money: Also in Chapter 52, the Ambassador and his lawyer friend accuse each other of loving money. Those are serious charges and both are true. Even some Christians are confused about God’s view of money, however. Many passages in Scripture condemn not money but the love of money, for one cannot love both God and money. God made the patriarchs and the kings of Israel, especially David and Solomon, very rich indeed. He does not condemn prosperity or material comfort. He warns, however, that money should not become an idol, and the Bible contains many examples of how easy it is to forget God as the source of all blessings when one is rich.
I take shadow in God’s wings: In Chapter 57, a cigarette lighter taken as a souvenir by a murderer is returned to the victim’s mother, together with a business card with the handwritten message, “I take shadow in God’s wings,” a paraphrase of a sentiment expressed in Psalm 17:8, where David seeks protection from his mortal enemies. The signature on the card is meant to mislead the victim’s mother about the identity of the murderer. The Bible phrase twists King David’s prayer into its opposite meaning: the evil murderer claims that God Himself is protecting him from punishment.
Some of our readers want to see more sex in our books. Unlike romance novels, murder mysteries do not really lend themselves to explicit sexual scenes, and we are incapable of writing them anyway.
However, when we were about to start Agenda for Murder, two separate, unrelated sources told us about sex clubs in Fort Wayne. We never had the courage to check them out personally, even in the name of research, but we’ve read about them. As it happens, their existence fit perfectly with the vices of two of our central characters. How often has a politician or international official or famous movie star or admired corporate executive or churchman been publicly humiliated when a sexual perversion surfaced -- exhibitionism, secret homosexuality, infidelity, pedophilia, addiction to pornography, even rape. Sex is frequently the vice of choice for the rich, famous, and powerful.
Thus, in Agenda for Murder, the Free Willys, a loose collection of swingers, are the inspiration for the more formal Caviar Club, an upscale nightclub for swingers founded and frequented by our central characters who wear virtuous faces in public. In fact, the climactic scene takes place in The Caviar Club. The scenes in The Caviar Club are as funny as they are disgusting.
In short, Agenda for Murder has much more to say about sex than our previous books, but hunting for the sexy scenes won’t be as titillating as doing the same thing in a book by Jackie Collins or Danielle Steele.
We began writing Agenda for Murder the second week of January. Besides entertaining and mystifying our readers, we intended to expose the dark side of Agenda 21. One of Agenda 21’s claims is that it will produce a sustainable, eco-friendly life for all by using as few natural resources and as little carbon-based energy as possible -- by subjugating human needs to protection of Mother Earth. So what happens in February during the Super Bowl in New Orleans’ super eco-friendly Mercedes-Benz stadium? The lights go out for over half an hour. We couldn’t pass that one up.
Diversity is the catchword of the bigoted.
Bigots see everything in terms of race, religion, age, and gender -- and also academic degrees, ethnicity, and sexual persuasion. They see everyone but themselves as bigots. That’s how our fictional Ambassador, who makes cheap appeals to race to one of the other black men in the book, sees the world. That’s how our young people are being taught by a largely left-wing academia to see the world.
In our fictional world, diversity is not a goal but but a side benefit of -- take your pick -- just policy, humane tradition, the Judaeo-Christian ethos, a meritocracy, a republic with a constitution like ours, or just living life as it comes.
The characters in our stories are diverse, not because we force the issue, but because we draw from all aspects of life -- and this book references the United Nations, after all.
Thus, our characters include business owners and entrepreneurs, doctors and lawyers, stylists and secretaries and cashiers, city planners and police detectives, investigative reporters and interior decorators, and impresarios of sex clubs.
They include Christians and Jews and the unaffiliated along the continuum of faith from believers to agnostics to atheists.
Most are straight but one man in the jargon of Sex and the City is a gay straight man.
They are white, black, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, African and various mixtures thereof.
Some are very rich, others not at all, and most struggle to rise to or stay in the middle class.
Some hold doctorates, some never went to college. Wisdom and education are not perfectly correlated.
None of our characters are perfect. Some claim to be good but aren’t; others claim no virtue at all but won’t have a hard time answering to God. And then there are the people you don’t want to meet in a dark alley.
We like epigraphs -- beginning quotations -- before each of the three parts of the novel. In this case, before each part, we quote one of the ten commandments, a quotation from Margaret Thatcher, and a two-line statement purportedly from a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
The Bible quotations are three of the ten commandments, starting with covetousness and leading to theft and murder. Covetousness underlies Agenda 21. Most of the nations belonging to the United Nations hate the United States and envy its prosperity. Sometimes they are blatant about the desire to transfer our wealth to them. Sometimes they conceal the envy in virtuous-sounding policies, such as Agenda 21. Unchecked covetousness when thwarted leads to other crimes, such as theft and murder.
Margaret Thatcher’s pronouncements are both wise and funny, especially the one about the Good Samaritan. Adding them as epigraphs was an afterthought. Sadly, she died while we were writing the book. The worldwide media coverage of her career reminded us of how trenchant her thinking was.
The mocking quotes from an unnamed ambassador are wholly the creation of our dark minds. One reader told us she thought we were quoting former ambassador John Bolton because the astringency and humor sound like him. But we aren’t. We’re flattered, though, if people think an insider really said those things.
SWINGERS IN THE NEWS
As coincidence would have it, the same month we were readying Agenda for Murder for publication, Glo, a local women’s periodical, contained a feature by Barb Sieminski about swingers in Fort Wayne, the City of Churches. The article as edited makes the vice seem almost reasonable and defensible. The overall tone is of moral relativism: swinging is just as virtuous as marital fidelity -- maybe more virtuous. The only reason swingers have to keep their identities secret is not the shameful nature of their perversion but the viciousness of the rest of the world, which is ignorant and judgmental.
Here’s the comment submitted by the Scribe to Glo’s editor.
As always, Barb Sieminski’s latest article about swingers is well written and interesting, but it reads as if something had been edited out. The quotes from a swinging couple “justify” or “excuse” the perversion: everybody cheats (everybody?), swinging keeps us from cheating (what do you think you’re doing?), our love is unconditional (then why demean it?), we go home together (that’s a relief!), it’s legal (but not moral), we’d be victims if people knew who we were (oh, those rampaging religious nuts!), we have safe sex (exactly how safe?), our kids know nothing about what we do (oh, sure!), and we’re going to get married some day (why?). Comparing swingers to Masons is ludicrous; Masons do not hide their identities and they aren’t hedonists. The fact that Spinner’s mother was a swinger is a thread to be followed all the way into the labyrinth. And unless more is revealed about what swingers actually do, the sin is air-brushed out of the picture and moral relativism takes over.